The Let's Play Archive


by Nakar

Part 51: Level Three: An Ice Wizard

Level Three: An Ice Wizard

I'll refer here to ArashiKurobara's excellent explanation of the dragon puzzle. It's got grids and everything! Unfortunately, it comes to the same conclusion the rest of us seem to have: There's no way to actually 100% solve this puzzle if we're not the Ice Dragon ourselves. We can narrow it down: We know the Ice Dragon has a hoard of diamonds and is either Balparaise or Carange, but as far as I can see there's no answer that avoids having to flip a coin to decide between the two.

So what then is the right answer?

This should be Demout.

And what is the name of the Dragon of Fire?

There were many logical reasons provided why the Dragon of Fire should be Carange and the Dragon of Ice should be Balparaise. But unfortunately logic does not appear to hold sway here, as the Dragon of Fire is in fact Balparaise.

What is the name of the Dragon of the Plains?

That's Ebert.

The name of the Dragon of the Peaks?


"And what," says the Dragon of Ice, hunching its wings and staring at you angrily, "is my own True Name?"

Apparently it's Carange!

Demanding its treasure will give us the same hint as when we killed it, which we don't even need anymore. In fact, we never needed it; narrowing down the hoards doesn't do a thing for figuring out the last two dragons' names. As Zandar observes, there's just something up with this puzzle.

Zandar posted:

I was kind of expecting this to be a puzzle where you have to use the fact that the Ice dragon could solve it to get past a point where you can't; narrow down Ice to two names and then find that only one choice then gives you enough information to solve the rest of the puzzle, for example. Unfortunately this doesn't work, as even if you don't assume that clue 1 refers to three different dragons, you can narrow Ice and Fire to the same two names and two hoards, and at that point nothing about the Ice dragon can affect any other point of the puzzle. So here are the possibilities I can think of:

1) The puzzle was intended to be completely solvable, but not enough clues were actually provided;
2) The puzzle was intended to only be solvable using the fact that the Ice dragon could solve it, but too many clues were provided;
3) There's some extra fact about the Ice or Fire dragon's name/familial status/willingness to meet with other dragons in this or another PoP (I guess the dragons we've met until now are all from the other hemisphere, though?); or
4) There's some trick about the way you answer that means you don't need to distinguish between Ice and Fire - either you can say you don't know certain facts and that's accepted, or you can try one answer, be told it's wrong and then (since you now know the right answer) use the Ice dragon's true name to gain power over him.

The whole Ice dragon not having a family thing would be 3, but a pretty tenuous "fact". I'm guessing from Nakar's attitude that 4 isn't the case, unfortunately, so it's looking like a mistake was made.
The family argument is at least a somewhat solid one, though it seems to be irrelevant for the purposes of the Ice Dragon's schemes. I get the sense that the developers thought that being able to "cheat" and identify the Ice Dragon's hoard would help finish the puzzle, but it very clearly doesn't. Since the dragon is only asking about the True Names, it doesn't really matter if we're sure which of Carange or Balparaise has which hoard, unless we can definitively eliminate one of their True Names on that basis.

That said, there is an upcoming PoP that may satisfy #3. The problem is... I'm not sure it's information you can take back with you to this PoP without dying, and I don't consider dying and using meta-knowledge to be a fair crack at this puzzle any more than guessing about the dragons' True Names and Menu-hopping back to start over is; you should be able to solve a puzzle in one continuous play sequence. It really just seems like they screwed up, or intended you to guess, neither of which makes for a very good puzzle.

Ah well. What's the next maze look like?

Oh huh. This is the first maze that has absolutely no PoPs in it. Just more ladders. A pure filler maze!

Here we are at the summit. The PoPs are gating each other in a rather obvious way, so there's probably some stuff from before that we needed to know. Luckily, we do!

The ground on which you stand is rocky; it falls off into a cliff, at the base of which is an ocean. Before you stretches a bridge made of ice, glinting all the colors of the rainbow in the brilliant sun. And there, in the distance, is a glittering crystal city.

That must be the place the Ice Dragon would take us if we'd attacked him (or failed his puzzle). All we need to do is cross the bridge.

I'm not liking the look of this, but onward we must go.

You hear a sharp CRACK -- and then another. A section of the ice slips away and plunges into the ocean far below. You hear a voice, a pleasant voice, androgynous in quality. "I am the Bridge of Ice," it says. "I was built by the Dragon of Ice. Only those in his favor may cross my span."

Well, we're in his favor, as it happens. Sort of.

Ring of Diamond Ice? I don't remember anything about that! The dragon must've played us!

...Stay cool, stay cool. We can bluff our way through this.

Ah yes, of course!

"Well," you say, "he has this hoard of diamonds..."

"Oh, very original," says the Bridge sarcastically. "Bloody everyone knows that."

He's got a very nice family!

"Oh, yes?" says the Bridge. "And just what is his wife's name? And his child's?"

It's Demout and Alain.

"Yes, very well," says the Bridge. "You have had some dealings with him. But that does not prove he places his trust in you. Know you his true name?"

In fact, I do! It's Carange.

"Correct!" says the Bridge. "Pass, friend."

You may be wondering whether we can use the information we bluffed here to somehow go back to the dragon and solve that puzzle. Unfortunately, we cannot; as we'll see below, only by using the Talisman can you really escape, and you can't use the Talisman after you start trying to bluff the bridge. It'd have been interesting if you could've definitively whittled down your options by chatting up the bridge, getting it to reveal something, and then escaping back to the dragon, but it just doesn't work. It's a huge missed opportunity.

Anyhow, the next maze is just a straight hallway, and it leads us to...

We've met before, haven't we?

Once again, the geography of the MadMaze puzzles you. You saw this city from the Bridge of Ice, yet found only maze at its farther end; but here, through that maze, is the city. Peculiar. About you stand spires of ice -- not natural formations, but ice carved in recognizable, architectural forms -- arches and steeples and obelisks.

Could this be the Crystal Palace? Are we already at the end of our quest?

"O wizard," you say. "Long have I travelled in search of you."

He glares at you from behind the ice, but does not bat an eyelid. This is because he cannot bat an eyelid -- or twitch a lip, for that matter. Conversation is clearly impractical.

Ah, but what if we used the Talisman's power of Mind?

"Release me!" pleads the mind of the wizard. "I have stood here for a hundred years, aware, always aware, and unable to do so much as scratch an itch. Release me and I shall do all in my power to aid you."

Are you Moraziel?

"Moraziel?" he says. "I fear not. Would that I had his power -- then these bonds of ice could not constrain me."

No problem buddy, we'll get you out of there!

You draw Valterre and smite the ice column mightily. It is as if you were attacking a column of steel. Your sword rebounds, without making a mark. It does not seem as if this will work.

Hmph. That's not going to work. I guess we'll try the spell we learned from the Dragon of Ice. From land to land and in my breast / Spring awakens too and my regret...

From within the column of ice, the wizard painfully speaks, able now at least to twitch. "Star Woman's favor," he whispers hoarsely. "Do you have the symbol of her favor?"

We do! It's a whale tooth carved with a picture of a man in a kayak.

Can you tell us about the maze?

He blinks. "Err... as to that... I cannot help you. You see, I'm not even entirely clear where I am. For in a struggle with the Dragon of Ice, I was overcome, then transported here -- wherever that may be -- and bound into this column of ice."

Oh. Well, Star Woman said you could help us on our quest, so I'm hoping that you know more about that.

"The Mad One ceaselessly struggles to overthrow the world and restore it to chaos. The MadMaze is the interface between the world and chaos; as the Mad One wins in his struggle, the MadMaze grows. As he is set back, the MadMaze shrinks. Among the greatest servants of the gods is the one you know as Moraziel; he is perhaps the most powerful wizard in all the world."

"'Tis said that only one who bears the Lady's Staff may reach Moraziel; but where her staff may be, I know not. And you must beware another possibility: A legend foretells that an innocent will come to the Moon of Madness, be corrupted, and free the Mad One from all his bonds. Be careful in your quest, for if you choose falsely, you may prove to be this innocent! And now, I must find the Dragon of Ice, that we may complete our ancient struggle."

Wait. Moon of Madness? But Tsoriss told us he lives in a palace at the center of this level!

"A giant quartz palace?" says the wizard, grinning. "The Hammer of Auric? Ho ho, I have not heard the like in aeons. No, no, the Seat of Madness is a moon, a body hanging in space; and no golden swatter will ease your way there. I fear, my friend, that you have been had."

(Note that weirdly, the game actually calls the wizard Moraziel here, even though he isn't. Unless he is. )

Man, c'mon, sages don't lie to people!

The wizard only laughs the harder. "You choose to believe this sage rather than me? Ho ho, well, you have freed me from a century's imprisonment; it ill behooves me to hold an animus. So let us part on this note, and I wish you all the best in applying your faulty knowledge to the task that lies before you."

Yep, turns out Tsoriss was just spinning us a bunch of bullshit; there is no Quartz Palace and no Hammer of Auric. The route to the Moon of Madness, apparently, lies far below, on the route we didn't take. Though how exactly going down will lead us to a moon in space is unclear. But hey, it's the MadMaze.

Oh, the wizard's leaving. Wait! Is there anything else you can tell us?

The Wizard of Ice hesitates, then says, "There is one thing that all wizards are taught, a piece of nonsense; or perhaps it has a meaning I cannot divine. 'Red is Moraziel's Robe,' is the saying -- but what it means, I know not."

Thanks. By the way, we know the True Name of the Ice Dragon.

It's, uh... Balparaise. Have fun!

"This is wonderful news," says the Wizard. "Armed with the dragon's True Name, I cannot fail. Is there anything else I can do for you, good knight?"

Nah, I'm good. Where's the exit to this place anyway?

I should be more hesitant here, but nah. Wheeeeeeee!

Faster and faster you slip down the ice, the world whipping past you so quickly it is merely a blur. At the turns, you tumble up the side of the slide, but it is well-constructed; you do not fly from it. The turns make your insides feel as if they're about to be yanked from your body, however. You're travelling so fast now that your armor draws sparks from the ice. And then, suddenly, without any sensation of deceleration, you are...

Alternate Solutions & Deaths

We've already seen what happens if the Dragon of Ice loses patience with us, and it's no different from failing his riddle as it is from trying to kill him. We'll skip that and head straight to the bridge.

First, we could just try to book it for the other side:

You run as fast as you can, hoping to make it off the bridge before it collapses beneath you. And, in your haste, you slip on the ice and fall... Tumbling toward the ocean so far below.

We can also use the Talisman to various useless ends.

Fire: You are enveloped in flames... When they dissipate, you find you have burned a gap in the ice bridge. No longer whole, the entire structure collapses, shards of ice falling about you as you plunge to your death.

Earth: The earth shakes... And under the strain, the entire bridge shatters. You plunge toward the ocean, huge shards of ice tumbling about you.

Air: The breeze blows gently past. "Well?" says the bridge.

Water/Cold: You command the water of the bridge to stay in frozen form... For a moment, you can feel the liquid responding, the ice congealing, the melt returning to solidarity... But then, the dragon's spell overrides your own. The section of the bridge on which you stand collapses with a mighty crash, and you fall.

Lightning: You call forth the lightning... Smashing a mighty gap in the Bridge of Ice. It collapses with thunder greater than your own. You fall toward the ocean, huge shards of ice rebounding off the cliff face as you plummet.

Mind/Spirit: The bridge seems to have neither mind nor spirit. "Well?" says the bridge.

Okay, so none of those work. But there's an alternate solution after all: Time!

Time! Time is what you need, just a few moments of frozen time to allow you to make for the end of the bridge before it collapses.

We can then either go backward to safety or forward to skip that entire stupid chat with the bridge.

Speaking of the chat with the bridge. If we try to lie our asses off, or prevaricate, things just generally don't go well.

"Umm, err, well... me and the Ice Dragon, we go way back! Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket. Way back. Why I remember back in..."

"What gibberish," says the Bridge. As neatly as if you had been pushed, your feet fly out from underneath you and you tumble over the slippery side of the bridge... And plummet to your death in the ocean so far below.

This also happens if we mess up any of the facts about the dragon, or if we tell him we have a nifty Talisman ("Yes," says the bridge. "So what?").

Finally, we can pray.

You start your prayer, and then... "Uhn uhn uhn, none of that stuff," says the Bridge. "Don't want any divine intervention around these parts, messes up magic like you wouldn't believe."

Oh yeah? Well I'm just gonna keep praying then.

"All right then," says the Bridge. "It isn't as if I didn't warn you."

And we are once more pushed off the bridge.

As a last stop, if we attempt to use the power of Earth to free the Wizard of Ice, or mess up either the dragon's spell or Star Woman's favor, we're treated to the same death:

Any other Talisman pick does nothing.